A bill that would prevent trans athletes from participating in Ohio women’s sports was woven into a bill that would limit health care for LGBTQ+ youth, and passed the Ohio House Public Health Policy Committee — all in the same meeting.
House Bill 6, dubbed the “Save Women’s Sports Act”, was added to House Bill 68, also known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act (SAFE Act), through a substitute bill that was accepted during Wednesday’s committee meeting. HB 68 now awaits further consideration in the House.
HB 68 would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, to trans youth. The bill would prevent physicians from performing gender reassignment surgery on a minor, but many opponents have testified that no Ohio children’s hospital currently performs gender-affirming surgery on those under 18.
“Please trust young people when they tell us who they are. Stop meddling in people’s most private health care decisions, and let trans kids have the opportunity to be themselves. Leave trans kids alone,” said Mallory Golski, the civic engagement and advocacy manager for Kaleidoscope Youth Center.
Christopher Bolling, a member of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, spoke against HB 68 and talked about how he had about 25 patients with persistent gender dysphoria during his more than 30 year career as a pediatrician.
“They are not asking for you to support them, they are not even really asking you to understand them,” he said. “They are asking you to not interfere and insert yourselves into the hardest decisions that they will be facing in their lives.”
Center for Christian Virtue praised Wednesday’s committee vote.
“The unmitigated greed of the gender-medicine industry has led to countless children being mutilated and sterilized for life,” CVC Policy Director David Mahan claimed in a statement. “Today’s committee vote was a great win and another important step towards protecting women’s sports and vulnerable children from exploitation in Ohio.”
State Rep. Beth Liston, D-Dublin, spoke against the substitute bill during Wednesday’s committee meeting.
“We, as the Democratic caucus, are against any bill that targets a vulnerable group, treats them as others, denies their lived experiences, and in this bill’s case, denies the best evidence based health care for them,” she said
In response, Committee Chair State Rep. Scott Lipps, R- Franklin, said HB 68 will continue to “to be worked on until we make sure this is ultimately a bill that protects youth in Ohio.”
Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, reintroduced HB 68 earlier this year after a previous bill that would prohibit doctors from doing sex reassignment surgery on minors failed to pass last year. He has said his bill doesn’t have religious motivations, but he can be heard defending conversion therapy and suggesting that homosexuality and someone being transgender are pushed by Satan during a sermon he gave four years ago at the Fremont Baptist Church, where he is a pastor.
House Bill 6
HB 6 would require separate single-sex athletic teams and allows athletes to file a civil lawsuit “if the participant is deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffers harm as a result of a violation of the bill’s single-sex participation requirements or if the participant is subject to retaliation for reporting such a violation,” according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.
HB 6 was voted out of the House Higher Education Committee about a month ago, but has not been taken to the House floor for a full vote.
“Part of our objection with the sub bill is including a completely separate bill banning transgender students from sports that was not heard in our committee,” Liston said.
State Rep. Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, is the only representative who is in both committees that have heard testimony on HB 6 and HB 68.
“That bill had a rigorous vetting,” Bird said. “Members of the Higher Ed Committee spent hours and hours listening to testimony.”
HB 6 has received lots of pushback from parents, students, activists and clergy members.
If a trans girl wants to play on a team with cis girls, she currently must go through hormone treatments for at least one year or show no physical or physiological advantages, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
There are only six transgender high school female student athletes in Ohio, and of those, only three have been approved to play in the current spring sports season, the OCJ previously reported.
Follow OCJ Reporter Megan Henry on Twitter.
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